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Magistrate

Abbeville County Magistrate Court

 

Office Staff
Court Administration:
Traffic/Criminal Court Clerk: Crystal G. Beauford - cbeauford@abbevillecountysc.com 864-366-5312 x-2435
Civil Court Clerk: Kelley Southerland - ksoutherland@abbevillecountysc.com 864-366-5312 x-2438 

 
Magistrates
Chief Magistrate:  Carolyn Brownlee - cbrownlee@abbevillecountysc.com
Associate Chief Magistrate:  Susan Gladden - sgladden@abbevillecountysc.com
Weekend Magistrates:  Robert Devore - rdevore@abbevillecountysc.com
                                             Phil Ray - pray@abbevillecountysc.com
 
Mission Statement
The Abbeville County Magistrate Court strives to treat all persons having business in the court equally and fairly, regardless of race, creed, or stature. The court administers justice effectively, equally and mercifully, while following and upholding the laws of the United States of America, the State of South Carolina, and the ordinances of Abbeville County.
 
Magistrate Office location and hours
The Magistrate office is located at the Abbeville County Law Enforcement Center Complex at 21 Old Calhoun Falls Rd., Abbeville SC. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am until 5:00pm. Bond Court hours are daily at 8:30am and 4:30pm.
Please be advised the magistrate cannot discuss specific details about your case or give you advice. The court staff will assist you in preparing your court forms.
 
Criminal/Traffic Court
Magistrates handle criminal and traffic offenses with a maximum fine of $500 or 30 days in jail. (state assessments will be added to fine imposed). You must appear in court at the specified date and time on your ticket or bond paper. If you do not wish to appear in court, you may pay via credit card the amount indicated on the citation.  Pay online at http://publicindex.sccourts.org/abbeville/onlinepayments. Payment of your traffic ticket online does not forfeit your right to request a trial in writing or appear in court on your scheduled appearance date. If you decide to mail in your bond rather than appearing in court, mail a money order, cashier’s check or bank certified check payable to Abbeville Magistrate Court P.O. Box 1156 Abbeville SC 29620. Do not mail cash or personal check. Be sure to enclose a copy of the summons or the summons number on the money order. The payment must be received in the court on or before the court date. The posting of bond does not affect your right to appear in court and receive a fair trial before the judge or to request a jury trial, provided the jury trial request is made in writing to the court before your court appearance date. If you fail to post bond or personally appear in court on the assigned court date, your home state motor vehicle division will be notified and your driver’s license may be subject to suspension until the matter is cleared with the trial court. Failure to appear in court or post bond in criminal cases will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.
 
Civil Court (small claims)
Magistrate’s civil jurisdiction is limited to amounts of $7500.00 or less and may include such matters as, disputes over money owed, defaulted credit payments, breach of contracts, abandoned property sales, and landlord-tenant matters. Civil complaints are filed in the county where the defendant (person being sued) lives or the company does business or has an office. The complaint must explain in detail the reason(s) for the action being filed. A filing fee is required. When the complaint is filed, a summons is issued for the defendant to answer the complaint within thirty (30) days. If the complaint is not answered within the 30 days, the plaintiff will be awarded a judgment by default. The defendant may answer the complaint and request a trial by the judge or a jury trial. Each party will be summoned to court to present its position on the complaint. (If witnesses needed please notify the court to subpoena). If neither party appears the case is dismissed.
 
Jury Duty
Magistrate Court jury trials are conducted monthly, usually the last Wednesday of the month. Juries are selected randomly by computer from the voter registration list of the county. All jurors are to report to the magistrate office located at the Abbeville County Law Enforcement Center Complex, 21 Old Calhoun Falls Rd Abbeville SC, unless they have been excused by the presiding judge. If you think you may qualify for exemption, please call the magistrate office for further instructions; some valid exemptions/excuses are: age, child care, physical/mental conditions, recent jury duty; some occupations may delay your service to another term. All jurors must complete the information form, return it to magistrate office and call the office to confirm if requesting excuse or delay in service. You will be paid $15.00 for each day you are required to appear. Dress appropriately for the courtroom. Inappropriate dress would include hats, tank tops, shorts, or Tee shirts. Do not bring telephones, pagers, or any noise making devices or electronics into the courtroom. Absolutely no weapons are allowed in the building. You may be subject to search by electronic scanning devices.
 
Courtesy Summonses
Pursuant to South Carolina Statute 22-5-110, this Court will no longer issue arrest warrants to persons other than law enforcement. Courtesy Summonses will be issued instead.  You must have a copy of your incident report from the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office when requesting a Courtesy Summons. The Judge will review the report and determine if there is probable cause to issue a Courtesy Summons.
 

 Preliminary Hearings
Magistrates conduct Preliminary Hearings in matters of the General Sessions Court jurisdiction. A Preliminary Hearing is a hearing to determine if the State can show there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime with which he is charged. A defendant will receive from the Bond Court Judge a form to request the hearing. The defendant or his attorney must return the form to the court listed on the form within ten (10) days to qualify for the hearing. The Preliminary Hearing is an administrative inquiry and not an adversary hearing. 
 
 
Restraining Orders (Harassment/Stalking)
Magistrates issue restraining orders in matters concerning harassment or stalking. Restraining Orders are civil in nature and require the filing of a complaint listing verified reasons a restraining order is needed. After the complaint is filed, the magistrate will issue a summons, requiring all parties and their witness to be present for a hearing to determine whether to issue the restraining order. There is no filing fee for a restraining order; however, the non-prevailing party must pay the court cost.
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2007 Abbeville County